Explaining time-sensitiveness of assisted reproduction.. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Aug 9 : According to WHO, every 1 in 8 couples (or 12 per cent of married women) has gone through complexities getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. This calls for a timely intervention and awareness amongst the patients to when to consider medical intrusion and opt for an IVF procedure.

Recent statistics show that an on-time IVF has higher success rates than a delayed initiation. This revolutionary procedure is an effective treatment to treat infertility and helps in the conception of a child. Depending on the criticality, patients might opt for less invasive treatment options before going ahead with IVF, which includes reproductive medications, increased production of eggs, or intrauterine insemination. However, if a couple has repeatedly failed to conceive after all other treatments and desires to attempt for IVF, then they should be aware of the procedure and importance of time for opting the same, she says.

IANSlife spoke to Dr. Lakshmi Chirumamilla, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility Hyderabad who explains in detail: Patients, planning to undergo assisted reproductive treatment (ART) like IVF, should first understand that the procedure is usually done using their own eggs and their partners' sperm. It may also involve eggs, sperm or embryos from an anonymous donor in some cases considering other complexities. Therefore, when a couple undergoes the first sign of infertility, they should consult a fertility expert to understand their biological risk stage, as the process and success rate will depend on their ability to produce eggs or sperms. Patients experience a series of tests like an evaluation of ovarian reserve, semen analysis, uterine cavity exam etc., and post that only in-vitro fertilization is initiated.

In some cases, women with growing age deplete their ovarian reserve and men tend to have lesser sperm count. This often can lead to diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), which happens when women ovaries lose their reproductive potential, causing permanent infertility. Here, the most vulnerable age is after 37 years. In a situation like this, fertility treatment becomes complicated with intricate procedures like embryo transfer as a next step.

"This whole procedure strictly includes a time-sensitive diagnosis and here, a delayed decision of IVF and other ART treatments can often lead to complicacies on the treatment outcome and that can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, isolation, and loss of control. As per WHO, depression levels in patients with infertility have been compared with patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. These negative feelings may lead to varying degrees of depression, anxiety, distress, and a poor quality of life," reiterates Chirumamilla.

Adding, "We have witnessed varied cases, where time played a crucial role in the IVF process. We had a couple who came to Nova IVF seeking fertility treatment, where the 28 year old woman had been trying to conceive with her husband for the past 3 years. Up on a detailed further examination, we figures out that the husband's semen analysis was normal, while woman had a low ovarian reserve. Here, the woman was advised to opt for IVF over a year ago, but had refrained from going ahead with it. Therefore, when a year later they finally decided to go for an assisted reproduction, the chances of the couple conceiving got decreased drastically due to her prolonged low ovarian reserve. Nevertheless, we opted for the procedure and post the first cycle of IVF, we ended up retrieving only two eggs and performed a single embryo transfer, which unfortunately came out negative. In the second cycle, we somehow managed to retrieve three eggs from the woman that then resulted in 2 embryos. Basis that, after performing a single embryo transfer in the second cycle, the woman was finally able to conceive." Considering all the odds and still being optimistic at a chance of parenthood, the couple did go ahead with the treatment keeping in mind the age and time-sensitive nature of any IVF-related treatment. It is always important to remember that age is not an indicator to undergo IVF treatment, when IVF is needed it is better to do it sooner than later. Treatment will always be advised according to the cause. Currently, the couple is happily pregnant awaiting the arrival of their little one.

Similar to this, assisted reproductive technology has aided many couples around the world to conceive and given meaning to their lives. There are countless success stories to inspire couples looking to undertake the procedure and fulfil their long-time desire to have a child.

There is no wrong time to have a baby, but it is wiser to not delay the process just because of the stereotyping of the society or present pandemic scenario. It is advisable not to neglect the early signs of infertility and consult a specialist at the initial stage to evaluate criticality and ensure a successful conception. Considering the present scenario, patients should always be cautious about the safety measures taken at the IVF centre and how stringently they are adhering to the govt. directives. Whenever visiting the clinic it is imperative to maintain at least one-meter distance from other people. Just make sure you avoid unnecessary contact with other people over there. Carrying hand sanitizer and mask is compulsory with frequent hand washes whenever required.

(Puja Gupta can be contacted at puja.g@ians.in)

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